Monday, June 11, 2018

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle -- the golden 3R Rule for resource conservation

Image courtesy: University
of Southern Indiana
It is extremely heartening to see that in many places people are practising the golden 3R Rule for conserving natural resources -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

A number of things that we use in our daily lives can be minimised by using smaller quantities, so that there is no wastage. If something is not needed, instead of putting it in the garbage bin, it is better to pass it on to someone who might need it.

Water and electricity

These are two things that we tend to take so much for granted. We can easily reduce the amount of water and power that we use. I make it a point to open the tap only as much, so that too much water doesn't flow: basically just the required amount.  Very often we tend to open the tap to such an extent that more water than what is necessary flows out, which is of course wasted. No wonder, there are grave warnings of water running out.

Same is the case with electricity. Air conditioners, fan and light often remain switched on even if we don't need them. We take availability of electricity for granted. If we can reduce the consumption,

Paper

If my observation is any indication, there is at least some reduction in the use of paper, with most of the routine communication now online in soft copy format. This is not to undervalue of the importance of having something written on paper, or reading something written on paper. That can be the subject of another post.

When I swipe my card in a store, a paper trail of the payment receipt is generated by the point of sale machine. I always tell cashier, I don't need the customer copy, because I have already got a conformation via a text message on my phone. I have seen some stores not taking out a paper receipt for themselves too. When I asked them, why they weren't taking one, they said, it's logged in the system, and there is no need for a paper receipt.

My late father always reused available pieces of paper (like the reverse side of bills, envelopes and advertisement flyer that come along with newspapers, or dropped in our letterbox) to write anything that was not formal, and didn't require taking a new sheet of paper.

A non-government organisation, Youth for Seva, in Bengaluru, has launched an initiative called 'Give Paper Back', which involves collecting notebooks that have unused pages in them. The idea is to take these unused sheets, stitch and bind them to make new notebooks that are distributed in rural schools for students.

Clothes

The trend is catching on, and it's not just paper.

In the city of Thiruvananthapuram (capital of south Indian state of Kerala), outside a shopping mall, there is a red box, which resembles a letter box, in which you can drop old clothes, or even a new ones. This is an initiative by a non-government organisation called Support 4 Society. They are planning to install such "dress banks" outside other shopping centres as well.

Plastic

Though plastic is very useful, and not all plastic is harmful, there is plenty of it that is needlessly used and harming our ecology. The South Western Railway (of Indian Railways) has, in partnership with a private firm, set up bottle-crushing machines at train stations in the city of Bengaluru. They were earlier introduced in Mysuru. They are there in Ahmedabad, Pune, and Mumbai, stations as well. As a token of appreciation, if you enter your mobile number in the machine, you get a cash back of Rs 5 in your Paytm wallet.

Spectacles

Various organisations like Lions Club, Red Cross etc collect used spectacles send them to recycling units. Some opticians too accept old specs.

These are really heart-warming initiatives, which not only need all the support and encouragement, but also are worthy of being emulated.

What about you?

Do you consciously make an effort to reduce and reuse? Are you aware of similar initiatives?

22 comments:

  1. Hi Pradeep ... great post - lots of ideas and thoughts here ... and yes we need to protect everything we can, use less and generally think of others. I do - and pass on things no longer needed ... notebooks - I used to take the used pages out and give the notebooks to kids for writing in ... always have gone that route. There are lots of charitable initiatives around ... thanks so much for the great post - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary. I too contribute to nearby charity institutions, especially the ones that are doing a good job, but aren't big enough to get funding.

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  2. We're careful around here about water. We just got out of a major drought, and considering how much rain we usually get, we're always just a year or so away from another.

    As for paper, I always use the back of computer paper for my personal notes. I can't waste it even though it's very easy to get.

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    1. Glad to know, Liz, that you are contributing your bit to saving paper and water. Here in India too drought is a very major issue. It affects crop production. So much so that monsoon or lack of it, and how a government handles the related issues, can even be a major political issue.

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  3. Very important topic. There is shortage of water worldwide. The US security establishment is already warning of potential conflicts – including terror attacks – over water. According to them Water, on its own, was unlikely to bring down governments. But the report warned that shortages could threaten food production and energy supply and put additional stress on governments struggling with poverty and social tensions. Countries could go to war over water. We better do something before it is too late.

    I receive all my bills and bank statements online and pay the bills online. So no paper involved. I donate my old clothes to Goodwill Store. Many counties (Districts) in California have banned single-use plastic bags.

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    1. Thank Rajan, for your detailed comment. I think power and water resources are quite precariously placed.

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  4. You have covered all important items. Unused medicines within expiry date can be collected by some organisation and distributed carefully to those who cannot afford.

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    1. Yes, KP. It can be quite useful for people who can't afford medicines.

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  5. Hi Pradeep and welcome to Midlife Share the Love Party. Some great reminders here of what we can do to help our environment and also save money. In Australia, one of our biggest challenges at the moment is the cost of electricity and where/how we should source our power supply. I think the idea of donating our old spectacles is a great idea but one we don't often think to do. As I use some form of card payment I don't usually take the receipt. Every little bit helps, doesn't it? Thanks for linking up and sharing at #MLSTL.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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  6. Recycling is something that is catching on but still has a long way to go. In Australia we have recycle bins for every household - you put glass, paper, tin cans etc in them and they are recycled rather than going into landfill. We also have charity stores that recycle good used clothing. There is a long way to go with the plastic waste that is becoming a huge problem, and we also have an issue with water shortage in Australia - so we have water restrictions in Winter for our gardens to try to keep our dams full.

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I've shared this on my SM
    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au

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  7. Great post! We no linger have a dryer for our clothes, we hang them dry. We also recycle everything that we can.

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  8. I try to be conscious of what I use and what the effect of it is on the environment. There are so many ways to resuse and repurpose things or buy things with less packaging.

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  9. Hi, Pradeep - I do consciously work hard to reduce, reuse and recycle...but I know that I can be doing more. Thank you for sharing these important reminders.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. Even something small by way of reusing or reducing, do matter. And it is an ongoing effort. :-)

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  10. I do recycle most of my trash and clothing. All of my appliances are energy efficient.

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    1. That is really good. Thank you for dropping by.

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  11. Thanks for visiting my blog last week! I've recently been trying to find ways to reduce my plastic consumption, some of it is easy, but sometimes I use it without even noticing - like toothbrushes and disposable razors, I'm hunting for alternatives.

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    1. Hi Annalisa, good to see your comment. Reducing and reusing are ongoing efforts, and even a small amount matters. Thanks for dropping by.

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